Gary Audin
Gary Audin is the President of Delphi, Inc. He has more than 40 years of computer, communications and security...
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Gary Audin | July 24, 2009 |


eBay, An Alternate Source

eBay, An Alternate Source I found 809 items under the category "Telephone Systems." It was an education to see what is on the site.

I found 809 items under the category "Telephone Systems." It was an education to see what is on the site.

Why buy from the vendor/VAR when there is so much at eBay? I have wondered how much telecom and data networking equipment has become a commodity that could be sold on eBay. I was also interested in how many legacy TDM components and systems were available that may be used to extend the life of an enterprise TDM system and postpone moving to VoIP/IPT.I went to eBay on July 23, 2009. I found 809 items under the category "Telephone Systems." I looked up Unified Communications and found only 24 items; two were Cisco UC520 systems for under $4000. The rest of the items were books or DVDs, but no systems. I guess that UC is too new to have many items on eBay. The number of items listed increased and decreased while I was on the site. All transactions are in US dollars. It was an education to see what is on the site.

So why take a look at eBay?

1. You may see items which you need at a much lower price.

2. Some legacy components or phones may not be available from the vendor anymore, but they can be found on eBay.

3. It may be cheaper to buy spare components than pay for a maintenance contract or to reduce the maintenance coverage.

4. You can use the site to develop budgets for equipment you plan to purchase and determine the lowest possible price.

5. You can determine the resale value for equipment you want to dispose of from your inventory. Go to "What It's Worth". To see the value, I looked up "Cisco IP phone" and found the value range was $8 to $8,787 for 898 listed items.

6. If your vendor will not take back excessive equipment you ordered, then this is the place to dispose of that equipment.

7. The CFO's office may want to determine the residual value of the equipment you are purchasing and this site will help you to determine that value.

I recently reviewed a Cisco VAR bid for a 400 phone system. This VAR was offering a 55% discount on most components including the DLUs that are part of the CallManager Device License. The maintenance was discounted 15%. So don't necessarily consider the eBay prices attractive unless they are at least 55% below list for Cisco.

This is not all a rosy situation. Look for the seller's reputation for customer satisfaction. Used systems may not have a warranty. The software may not be included or you cannot get maintenance of the component. There may be software licensing issues with the items if they are not sold as new.

What's on eBay? So what's for sale? I found PBXs, IP PBXs, gateways, key systems, voice mail systems, legacy and IP phones (lots of them), headsets, adapter cards, predictive dialers, audio recorders and other devices. When I searched for Cisco, I found 20,683 items but many of these entries had to do with LAN switches and routers as well as VoIP devices. Another search listed 3,518 items under VoIP and IP Telephony for all vendors.

* Cisco telephony had 35 items, mainly phones and gateways. * There were two Cisco CallManagers R4.3 for sale. * There were 2,742 Avaya items including Definity systems. * Under Avaya IP, there were 337 items including IP Office 400 and 500 systems but no call managers. * There were 3,945 Nortel items, 304 of which were phones and BCM systems. * The IP PBX category had 173 items, mostly related to Asterisk. * I found one Mitel 3100 system for $1 but the S&H was $29.

The prices requested and bid were all over the map. It appeared that few were getting their asking price. Most items had 0 bids. The vast majority of the items were under $300. Some total prices seemed high until you read that there were 60 phones for sale included in that high price.

Buying and Selling

There were several sellers that appeared to be channels or reseller organizations. Their items were new, not used. Some items are refurbished. The terms of payment can be 3 months delayed payment if you qualify. The shipping charges are usually displayed. The shipping charges may be free or there is shipping calculator for the item that depends on the destination location. The seller may also ship outside the U.S. There are some interesting spelling errors and mistaken use of acronyms making me wonder about the some of the sellers' knowledge of what they are selling.

Here are some of the considerations when buying or selling at eBay. I learned most of this information from Abigaile Troike who is a Trading Assistant on eBay, has an eBay Store and is an Education Specialist. You can contact her at for advice and support or go to

* Items can be sold at a fixed price or through auction.

* You can "Buy it now" and not wait for the finish of the auction, but the price may be higher than the minimum bid.

* You can track the activity on an item

* You can put a reserve on the item and if the minimum price is not met, then the item does not have to be sold.

* You pay fees to eBay for posting the item. There is a subscription fee, an insertion fee plus a final value fee that starts at 12% and reduces to 2% as the value increases. Even if you are not selling on eBay, the seller you are dealing with has to pay these fees. The fees will affect the final price you have to pay

* A Trading Assistant can sell the items for you for a commission that ranges from 20% to 50%. The higher commissions should include all of the eBay fees.

* There is a fee when the item is not sold.

* The item can be listed for a limited or unlimited period of time depending on the arrangements.

* You can"View Seller's Other Items" to see what else that particular seller has to offer to combine shipping and save some additional money.

* You can view the seller's reputation to determine if you want to do business with this seller.

Take a look at eBay. You may be using it in the near future.I found 809 items under the category "Telephone Systems." It was an education to see what is on the site.


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March 7, 2018

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April 20, 2017
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